Maplelicious Sweet Tamales with Guajillo-Chocolate Sauce

This is a delicious and unexpected sweet savory combination that is a great addition to any holiday plated breakfast or breakfast buffet (serve sauce separately for buffet). These tamales would also be awesome as a surprising dessert, too! This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.


Serves 6 Servings (two tamales + 2-3 tablespoons sauce)


Tamales 15 dried corn husks (2 oz, or ¼ package) 2 cups masa harina for tamales ½ cup pure maple syrup 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut ⅓ cup butter or vegetable shortening, room temperature (may need more) 1 teaspoon baking powder 2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes ¼ cup heavy cream 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature ½ teaspoon chipotle-flavored pepper sauce ⅓ cup dried sweetened cranberries Sauce 2 dried guajillo chiles (about 1.5 oz) ½ teaspoon ground cloves 1 tablespoon ground canela or cinnamon 2 tablespoons fresh grated orange zest ½ cup orange juice 12 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped ½ cup heavy cream 1 teaspoon chipotle-flavored pepper sauce 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Nutritional information

No nutrition information available


1. Soak corn husks in large bowl of hot water for ½ hour, then separate and continue to soak until pliable, up to ½ hour more. Tear one or two husks into ¼-inch wide strips to use for tying the tamales. Boil 1 cup water in medium saucepan. Remove from heat and gradually stir in masa. Cover and let cool until room temperature [may be done 1 day in advance; store in covered container in fridge. Bring to room temperature before using.]. Combine ⅓ cup water, syrup, and small pinch salt in small saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Take pan off heat and stir in coconut; cool to room temperature. 2. In stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, cream butter or shortening with baking powder. Add masa and coconut mixtures, and beat until dough is smooth, fluffy, and light. If dough appears to be too dry and crumbly, add more butter or shortening in 1-tablespoon increments. If it appears to be too wet, add additional masa by tablespoonfuls. 3. In medium mixing bowl, stir together sweet potato, cream, butter and pepper sauce. 4. Arrange steamer rack in very large stockpot and add water to just below bottom of rack; do not allow water to touch bottom of steam rack. Cover and bring water to boil. Place 12 drained corn husks on work surface. Put 3 to 4 tablespoons masa dough into center of one husk. Spread 1 to 2 tablespoons sweet potato mixture on top of masa and sprinkle some dried cranberries on top. Fold long sides over filling, then tie ends of tamale shut with husk strips. Repeat process to make 12 tamales. Place upright, leaning against one another, in steamer. If necessary, insert pieces of crumpled foil between tamales to keep them upright. Cover and steam until dough is firm to touch and separates easily from husk, adding more water to pot as necessary, about 1 hour. 5. While tamales are steaming, prepare sauce. Wipe guajillo chiles clean with a damp cloth, then slice off stem ends and remove seeds. Preheat large skillet over medium heat, then toast chiles, turning frequently, until fragrant and beginning to darken, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl, cover with boiling water, and soak 20 minutes. Drain guajillo chiles and combine in blender with cloves, canela, orange zest and juice. Blend until very smooth. Place chocolate and cream in top of a double-boiler and melt over medium heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in guajillo-orange mixture, pepper sauce and maple syrup. Return to medium heat and gently warm for 5-10 minutes. 6. Serve tamales with sauce passed separately. To eat tamales, unwrap and remove from corn husk, drizzle with sauce, and enjoy! Notes: • Dried corn husks can be found in the Latin/international and/or produce food aisles of most large grocery stores. • Masa harina, also called corn flour or instant corn masa mix for tamales, is corn that has been treated with lime and water then ground and dried. My preference is the Maseca brand. If you buy Quaker masa [the most common brand available in the U.S.], be sure to buy the "Masa Harina de Maiz," NOT the "Harina Preparada Para Tortillas." Regular corn meal can not be substituted for masa. • Canela, also called true, Mexican, Ceylon, or Sri Lankan cinnamon, is a less pungent variety than the cassia cinnamon commonly used in the U.S. • Guajillos are large, dark-red chiles with a nutty flavor and not too much heat.